I've got The Itis

Jen, a more avid Facebook advocate than I, posted my malaise yesterday, so I figured it only fair I provide a more thorough explanation as to what actually happened Saturday and Sunday. What am I alluding to, you ask? This weekend, I spent Saturday and most of Sunday at Naperville’s illustrious Edward hospital, and this time, it wasn’t because of my heart!

I woke up around 4:00am on the 18th feeling as if an army of ferrets were fighting over my colon like it was composed of especially delicious Pixie Stix. Worse, whatever was causing that wrenching agony refused to leave, and I had to fight the urge to decorate my bathroom an alluring technicolor, or for that matter, remain standing. Somehow, I managed to rouse Jen long enough for her to drive me to the nearest hospital–it’s amazing how many red timer-controlled traffic lights one can encounter at 4:30am on completely barren streets.

Once in the actual hospital, some magic switch was toggled, and my body proceeded to violently purge itself of everything I had eaten since the beginning of time; I’m still not convinced some of my internal organs aren’t now residing in Naperville’s undoubtedly pristine sewers. An IV, two infusions of painkillers, and a shot of an anti-cramping medication later, I was left feeling merely bruised and exhausted. Of course, I was robbed of several vials of blood for testing, but I was surprised by a CT scan, which would reveal any existing damage. As luck would have it, my pancreas was inflamed, as was some of my colon. The verdict? Acute pancreatitis and colitis, probably caused by a virus, since all of the bacterial cultures came back negative.

Great! So, please assure me it isn’t fatal, fill me full of drugs so I can go home and suffer through the worst of it. No? What? I need to stay for observation until I can eat solid food again? I can’t eat until dinner, and even then, I’m restricted to broth and juice? Oh. Well, then… They wheeled me to a room on the fifth floor, hooked me up to a new IV bag, and a doctor informed me why I’d been detained. So began my love-affair with the hospital restroom. Since I was staying, Jen escaped to retrieve a few items from our apartment so I could entertain myself. It turns out that wasn’t strictly necessary, as I spent most of that time groaning, attempting to sleep, watching Criminal Intent, or somewhat perversely, House.

But all things must eventually end. They hooked me up to a heart monitor thanks to my heart defect, and around 11:00pm, Jen and I decided to get some sleep. I’m not sure about Jen, but I didn’t get much. I’d already warned the doctor and the nurses about my low heart rate, which has been known to hit 39bpm while I sleep, but they’d forgotten to adjust the heart monitor, so I was woken up rather rudely when the monitor decided my pulse of 45 was much too low, sir and released an ear-splitting alert roughly every five minutes. The nurse arrived and called the monitoring station where they proceeded to set the alert to the lowest value allowed. She also shared the amusing conversation she had with the techs monitoring my vitals–evidentaly they were shocked, shocked that my heart rate seemingly never reached a healthy, normal level such as 60bpm. In any case, I was able to fall into a fitful rest of some kind, only to be jolted awake repeatedly a couple hours later as the monitor once again displayed a perturbed rage at my indecent heart rate, which according to Jen, was something below 35. A new low! What do I win? Sadly, I won nothing but a new IV bag. I’m not sure what they did, but the alert refrained from assaulting me further, and I fell asleep until around 6:00am feeling like, and possibly closely resembling, the wretched undead.

Sunday mostly consisted of more robbery of my precious, oxygenated blood, but at least I was allowed to eat “solid” foods such as cream of wheat, and yogurt. Amusingly, a nursing student was assigned to me, and practiced his trade under the careful eye of my morning nurse. He was very intrigued at my medical history, which was made obvious when he exclaimed, “That’s really cool!” I know I’m something of a rarity, but he’ll doubtlessly see much stranger conditions and situations in his chosen vocation over the years. I almost asked him to be my pen-pal so I could monitor his progress and find my own amusement as his exposure to the strange and grotesque matured.

Finally, noon rolled around, and aside from a nagging headache, a general sense of numb pain, and exhaustion, I was really feeling much better. So I was allowed actual, genuine solid foods once more! A Caesar salad later, and an hour proving it didn’t affect me adversely, and I was released back into the wild. I went home to rest, and have spent most of Monday recuperating as well. Whatever actually made me sick appears to be gone, and I think I’ve made up for all the sleep I lost over the weekend. So, as you can see, rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated. Though, after being afflicted with strep throat, and now two different simultaneous infections of my digestive tract so early in the year, I’m sure 2009 is trying to kill me.

Until Tomorrow